Florence Brannon, 98, of Oak Park, died on Dec. 9, 2018. Born to James and Mary O’Neil in Ludlow, Massachusetts, she graduated in 1941 from UMass-Amherst with a B.A. in Home Economics and was a member and officer of Chi Omega. In 1942, she was recruited by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture to the West Coast where, for six years she served as a food inspector of California canneries. While living in San Francisco, she married Richard Brannon and after the war, the couple moved to Milwaukee where their son, Richard, was born in 1949. She and her son moved back to Ludlow a few years later.
She earned an M.A. in management at Ohio State University and resumed her career with the federal government, now as a dietician for the Northampton V.A. Medical Center, where she worked for 35 years, rising to the level of chief dietician supervising the 65 staff members serving this 500 bed V.A. hospital. She was active for many years in the American Dietetic Association and Zonta International, a service group focused on empowering women around the world.
Following her retirement from the V.A. in 1985, she became a great traveler, visiting family, friends and historic places across the U.S. as well as in Europe, the Middle East and Asia, including the Great Wall of China. In December 2002, she moved to Oak Park and, despite advanced rheumatoid arthritis, was very observant and pleasant as ever. In celebration of her 98th birthday two months ago, she ordered Chinese food with champagne and creme brûlée for all.
Florence Brannon is survived by her brother-in-law, James Marshall, as well as many nieces and nephews and other loved ones. She was predeceased by her son, Richard; and by her sisters, Alice (James) Marshall and Marion (Paul) Scholten.
Visitation, Mass, and reception will be held on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. at Brookdale Senior Living on the second floor in the Oak Park Room with Rev. George Omwando presiding. Arrangements are being handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.
She will be interred in Ludlow, next to her son, Massachusetts arrangements with Kapinos-Mazur Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers memoriam gifts can be made to the Oak Park-River Forest Food Pantry or charities of the donors’ choice.